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~ Sea Scallops & Spaghetti w/Tomato-Cream Sauce~

IMG_2701Every once in a while, my ability to cook is overshadowed by my desire to cook something remarkably easy yet good enough to serve to guests -- no special skills, tools or knowledge required.  Today is such a day.  This simple, straightforward and scrumptious recipe, taken from the pages of absolutely nowhere, goes from stovetop to table in the time it takes to cook spaghetti, and, when beautifully plated, will bamboozle everyone into thinking I cooked all day.

"I dream of stirring cream into marinara sauce." ~ Melanie

IMG_2611The only thing more rewarding than having a freezer shelf full of my perfectly-seasoned ~  Fresh & Spicy Tomato-Basil Sauce (Marinara) ~ (made from our own garden's tomatoes, onions, garlic and basil), is being able to use it as a base for this decadent tomato-cream sauce.  My recipe can be found in Categories 8, 12 or 22, but, feel free to use your own homemade marinara if you've got it IMG_2618on-hand.  Store-bought?  I think not, but, nonetheless, that choice is yours to make.  My ratio is 2:1, or:

2  cups marinara sauce, preferably homemade

1  cup heavy or whipping cream

This can be changed to suit your taste, but, do not substitute half and half or milk.  Just don't do that.

IMG_2627 IMG_2621~ Step 1. Place the marinara sauce in a 2-quart saucier or saucepan.  Add and stir in the cream.  

IMG_2633~ Step 2. Over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, heat until sauce is steaming.  Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Pretty, pink & perfectly-seasoned sauce.  Easy enough so far?

IMG_2635For the spaghetti:

1  pound spaghetti

1  tablespoon  sea salt

4-6  tablespoons butter

1  14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, well-drained

the tomato-cream sauce

IMG_2638~ Step 1.  In an 8-quart stockpot bring 5 quarts of water to a boil and add the salt.  Add spaghetti and cook until al dente, 10-11 minutes.  

Note:  While spaghetti is cooking, pat scallops dry as directed below. 

IMG_2646~ Step 2. Turn heat off.  Drain spaghetti into a colander and immediately return it to the still hot stockpot.  

IMG_2652 IMG_2660 IMG_2664 IMG_2672~Step 3.  Place the stockpot on the still hot/warm stovetop and toss in the butter and diced tomatoes.  Ladle in two cups of the now lukewarm sauce, and, using two forks or two spoons, toss as you would a salad, until the pasta is lightly and evenly coated.  Cover pot and set aside.

IMG_2672^^^Perfectly-cooked & sauced spaghetti.^^^  Game on: 

IMG_2680 IMG_2676For the scallops:

24  large, U/12 (12 per pound/2 pounds) wild, sea scallops, patted dry and placed on a layer of paper towels for about 5 minutes

6  tablespoons salted butter

1/4  teaspoon sea salt

freshly-ground red pepper flakes, 20-25 coarse grinds

~ Step 1.  In a 12 " skillet, melt butter over low heat.  Stir in salt and coarsely-ground red pepper flakes.

IMG_2690 IMG_2683~ Step 2. Increase heat to medium-high/shy of high and add the scallops. Regulating the heat carefully, saute the scallops until lightly golden, turning only once, about 4-5 minutes on the first side and 3-4 minutes on the second side.  The entire process will take 7-9 minutes.

Step 3.  Turn heat off and use a pair of tongs to transfer scallops to a paper-towel-lined plate.

IMG_2697^^^Perfectly butter-"poached" & lightly-browned scallops!^^^

~ Step 3.  Remove all but a scant 1/4" of the scalloped-flavored butter from the skillet.  Stir in the remaining one cup of sauce and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat.  Add the cooked and still warm pasta and toss until just reheated through, 45-60 seconds.  Do not overcook.

Portion pasta into 4, 6 or 8 bowls (for a starter, luncheon or dinner course) & top each, respectively w/6, 4 or 3 scallops:     

IMG_2700Pretend like you've slaved over the stove all day!

IMG_2723Sea Scallops & Spaghetti w/Tomato-Cream Sauce:  Recipe yields 3 cups tomato-cream sauce and 4-6-8 starter, luncheon or dinner servings of scallops & spaghetti.

Special Equipment List:  2-quart saucier or saucepan w/lid; large spoon; 8-quart stockpot w/lid; colander; paper towels; 12" nonstick skillet; tongs

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c7be0eed970bCook's Note:   For another super-easy way to prepare scallops, you might want to check out my recipe and method for making ~ Broiled Wild Sea Scallops w/Broiled Brown Butter ~, which can be found in Categories 3, 14, 20 or 21. Served atop a bed of my ~ Fluffy Lemon & Pepper Rice for Fish &/or Seafood ~, found in Categories 4 or 14, this is another bamboozler of  an impressive meal fit for any fancy-schmancy occasion!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2016)


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